JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL) – Oak Hill Cemetery in Johnson City was recently placed on the Tennessee Preservation Trust’s Top Ten Endangered Historic Properties list.
“They saw our predicament here and decided that we deserved to be put on the top 10 list,” said Oak Hill Cemetery Owner Timothy McKinney.
Oak Hill shares the designation with places like Aretha Franklin’s birthplace home and the place where Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of his last speeches.
Just like those places, McKinney said for years he’s survived on donations and volunteers help, but landing on the list could help bring in more resources.
“The fact that we’re an endangered historical sight is important to the city that we preserve the history in this area,” said McKinney.
Recently, Oak Hill was also added to Johnson City’s Historic District, giving McKinney access to more financial help.
“The city of Johnson City gains valuable historic resource in the fact that the founder of Johnson City is buried there as well as the designer of the Tennessee state flag,” said Johnson City’s Planner Matt Young.
“He (McKinney) is now allowed to apply for the downtown façade grant offered by the JCDA,” said Young.
McKinney told News Channel 11, if awarded the grant he will build a new fence around the property.
“Johnson City in particular doesn’t have that many old structures and kind of looking at the history of Johnson City, we are really missing a lot of our past. We are trying to grasp and hold onto what little bit we have left which I think is beneficial to future generations,” said Young.
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